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Signs Of Elder Abuse Amongst Seniors Who Have Dementia

Signs Of Elder Abuse Amongst Seniors Who Have Dementia


If there are indications that your elderly loved one with dementia has been a victim of abuse in a nursing home in California, you may need to seek legal counsel. 

Unfortunately, statistics show that 23 percent of older adults with dementia experience physical abuse from caregivers, and 62 percent are victims of psychological abuse. While caring for someone with dementia can be difficult, abuse, of course, is never acceptable. 

California elder abuse attorney Joel Bryant has helped decades of clients seek justice in elder abuse cases, and we can do the same for you.

Signs of Elder Physical and Sexual Abuse

Elder dementia patients are especially vulnerable and may seem like easy targets for abuse because nursing home staff may think they will forget the abuse or will be unable to communicate the abuse to loved ones. It is extremely important to keep an eye out for any changes to their behavior. 

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, possible warning signs of physical and sexual abuse to those with dementia can include:

  • Unexplained injuries, such as bruises, welts, burns, new scars, or broken bones
  • Fear or recoil when you attempt to touch them
  • Reports of a drug overdose or misusing medications
  • The caregiver insists on being present with you when you visit your elder loved one
  • Bruising or bleeding around genitals
  • Torn, stained, or bloody underwear

Another form of physical abuse is neglect, such as when a caregiver fails to provide or purposely refuses to give necessities, like food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and more. 

Signs of Elder Emotional and Psychological Abuse

There may not be any physical marks, scars, or bruises involved in the emotional or psychological abuse of those seniors with dementia, but there are still signs to be aware of. It can be especially difficult, however, to distinguish these signs from the symptoms of dementia. Your loved one could be enduring verbal abuse, threats, harassment, or humiliation. 

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), these signs include:

  • Increased signs of agitation, like rocking, sucking, or mumbling to themselves
  • Sudden withdrawal, change in alertness, or depression
  • Communication from your loved one about any mistreatment incidents

Additional types of psychological abuse can include financial abuse, when someone illegally takes advantage of a senior’s money or property. Pay attention to your loved one’s personal accounts for an overabundance of withdrawals, new credit cards, or any additional authorized users. It can also include healthcare fraud, which occurs if a provider is falsifying the elder patient’s information for their own financial purposes or not providing proper healthcare. 

Contact a San Diego Elder Abuse Attorney for Your Senior Loved One

If your senior loved one with dementia is showing any of these signs of elder abuse, it is time to contact San Diego elder abuse lawyer Joel Bryant, so that he can walk you through the process of professional investigation and litigation. 

Be prepared to share with us and describe to us:

  • The living situation in their assisted living facility
  • The abuse your loved one has suffered from, including any photo documentation
  • The name of the caregiver who is responsible for your loved one’s abuse